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The RNC With Kazushi Sakuraba

The RNC With Kazushi Sakuraba


As you being you Jiu jitsu journey, it can seem like there is so much information, so many techniques, that it is impossible to you will ever know the right names, let alone be able to execute the technique in drilling or live training.  

As time goes by you start noticing you are doing some of the techniques naturally, as reactions to what your opponent is doing. This is certainly a huge milestone when you begin executing the fundamental techniques without much thought, simply as a reaction to your opponent. 

Love Sakuraba's Game? Learn It! Click Learn More below!


As you move forward from here in beginning to develop your game, your mission is not only to have a takedown, guard pass and submission in mind, but to start stringing submission attempts together. You go for the first submission, the opponent defends, that’s ok, you were expecting it so you now go to your second submission attempt, and so on.  It seems the longer you train, the longer this string of attacks is, or any series of techniques for that matter.

When we look at point based competitions in Jiu jitsu, where points are assessed based on your dominance over your partner, mount and back mount (back control) are both equal in that they will earn you four points.  It’s certain that each practitioner has their own preference as to which position they feel more capable in, but from a high level both positions are considered the to be the best offensive position in the game of Jiu jitsu.  

We are going to break down a series from back mount starting by looking at what is likely the most recognized submission in the Jiu jitsu or mixed martial arts worlds, the rear naked choke and how to transition to an arm lock when you are not able to get the choke.  In Kazushi Sakuraba’s video “Rear Naked Choke” he breaks down how using the Kimura grip from seatbelt control can allow him to transition to the arm lock when he isn’t able to get the choke, or prefers an arm lock submission.

Kazushi Sakuraba is well known in mixed martial arts, catch wrestling and grappling sports around the world.  His go to submission technique is the Kimura, which he had perfected and led to his fame after he used it to defeat some of the Gracie family.  

Let’s start off by looking at Sakuraba’s back control.  First, it’s important to note in order to achieve your four points in a points based competition you will need to get both hooks inside your opponents’ legs.  That being said, many high level grapplers prefer to control the opponent using the bottom hook and using their other leg to step on the hip, or on their own opposite foot to maximize mobility and control.   Sakuraba is no exception, he starts his back control controlling the bottom leg with his hook and using his other leg to move between stepping on the hip, or his own foot depending on how his opponent is fighting to escape.

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In order to transition from the back to the arm lock once in the back control position with the seatbelt grip he is using his top leg to create the space needed to get his bottom let out.  He does this by planting the foot and shrimping into his opponent, lifting them just slightly off the mat, enough that he is able to get his hook out and plant that foot on the mat as well.  

While doing this he is simultaneously bringing what would be his choking arm around the head and grabbing the opponent's ‘wrist. It’s at this point that Sakuraba locks up his Kimura grip, and uses his now planted bottom leg, along with the strength of the Kimura grip to pull the opponent towards the opposite side and once more create the space he needs to swing his leg out and over the opponent's head.  

To finish the arm lock he keeps the Kimura grip tight and is pressing the opponent's hand into their chest, making it more difficult for them to grip and fight the submission.  Once he gets the leg around, he is immediately pinching his knees together and continually pressing downward with both legs to prevent the opponent from escaping. This allows the control necessary to continue the submission and being leaning back for the arm lock submission.  

It’s important to attach the arm to your body, don’t lay back and try to pull the arm to you. Attach their tricep area to your sternum and stay tight as you sit back remembering to keep your knees tight and downward pressure, all while lifting your hips towards the ceiling. This should provide a rather quick tap.  Final note, remember when sitting for the arm lock the closer your hips are to your opponent's’ shoulder, the more effective the submission will be. If there is a lot of space between your hips and their shoulder, it creates more mobility for them and increases the risk of a failed submission attempt and ultimately the opponent escaping the control.

See how you can leverage the other submissions from Kazushi Sakuraba and his devastating submissions.  You can check out more from Kazushi Sakuraba in his video instructional “Anti Jiu Jitsu” to learn more about how he uses high level catch wrestling and pro wrestling  to dominate on the mats.

Kazushi Sakuraba is a grappling legend with a unique style. Now, you can learn his favorite techniques, and get an edge on the competition! Check our his DVD Anti Jiu Jitsu, and get to work! Check it out here!






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